Published October 06th 2021

The Contemporary Craft of Decorative Fiber at the 2021 PMA Craft Show

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has two categories containing fiber:  fiber wearable and fiber decorative. In the latter, fiber is designed, formed, and shaped to become wall hangings, rugs, sculptures, vessels, and more. This year’s fiber decorative artists bring their textures and talents to two and three-dimensional items, ready for a wall or floor or shelf near you!

Fabric art by Sharon Tesser

(Above: Fabric art by Sharon Tesser)


Sharon Tesser sees herself as a storyteller. With fabric as her canvas, she begins with a sketch, carrying it over to a wide-weave gauze where she crafts tales of joy, sorrow, love, and hope. Using recycled cloth and vintage textiles, she calls her process textile mosaic with each piece of small cloth added one at a time, creating light, pattern, depth and texture. Sharon’s vision stems from a belief in the beauty of the smallest moments in life, which she translates through the lens of color, shadow, and light. When people see her work, she wants them to connect with the story as she creates imagery that taps into a collective humanity.

Quilt by Ann Brauer

(Above: Quilt by Ann Brauer)


For four decades, Ann Brauer has been creating quilts she sees as abstract landscapes of the imagination. Telling stories of place, inspiration, and hope, her wall hangings capture a modern and contemporary look, yet are linked to tradition. Ann views her process as analogous to a jazz composition, with each piece of fabric determining what comes next. Ann is self-taught and clearly it has served her well as her work is in numerous museums, institutions and private collections including the American Museum of Art + Design, the Lodge at Turning Stone in Verona, NY, the Federal District Courthouse in Springfield, MA and the collection of legendary jazz musician Pat Metheny.

Two paintings on silk, by Deborah Falls

(Above: Two paintings on silk by Deborah Falls)


Deborah Fall’s pieces are created on hand woven silk fabric using fiber reactive silk dyes. With a background in printmaking, drawing, painting, mixed media, and textile design, she was drawn to the texture and the vibrant colors of the silk and dyes. Self-taught in this medium, Deborah developed her own techniques. Inspired by her garden, her imagery went from abstract to botanicals, where she loves capturing and portraying the sense of beauty and wonder that she experiences in the garden.

Dimensional Fiber Art by Amy Gillespie

(Above: Fiber Wall Art by Amy Gillespie)


Amy Gillespie finds her medium of felt to be intriguing. She loves the intense color and texture achieved by wet-felting raw wool, and sees the evolution of her work as a combination of art, craft and design. Amy’s use of vibrant color merged with texture draws people in. Her process is in-depth, and each piece requires an in-depth process. Amy’s background is in fiber, but she has always been fascinated by wood. To balance out the materials, she lets the wood set the tone for the piece. As she continues to work with the materials, her mind is aloft with ideas of color and composition, leading to the finished product that is bound to be the focal point of a room.

Art quilt by Susan Lenz

(Above: Art quilt by Susan Lenz)


Susan Lenz’s wall pieces are a whimsical adventure in color, design, creativity, fabric, and imagination. Using seemingly mundane objects, Susan juxtaposes the abundance of life and the capacity to keep things for a rainy day. One might notice paper clips, keys, bottle caps, buttons, old clock parts, and a myriad of vintage items patterned together in such a way that the viewer can’t help but be entranced. Susan repetitively hand stitches these ingredients into patterns on sections of old quilts, bringing new life to everyday things. Susan’s work has appeared in national publications and is in the permanent collection of the Textile Museum in Washington, DC and the McKissick Museum in South Carolina.

Rounding out the category of fiber decorative is Claudia Mills (rugs & floor coverings), Shelley Jones (felted wool decorative objects), Beth Levine (felted vessels and décor), and Melissa Pare (silk paintings). Melissa was the recipient of the 2020 Louise K. Binswanger Prize for Best Artist New to the Show.

Join us at the 45th annual PMA Craft Show. Click HERE to order your tickets to the in-person show.